Story

The opening scenes of Transformers: Dark of the Moon show the final stages of a war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Their home planet of Cybertron is all but destroyed. In the final moments of the battle, an Autobot spacecraft tries to escape. It’s referred to as the ‘Ark’ and is carrying a cargo that could win the war for the Autobots. But it’s hit by enemy missiles and seems to be destroyed before it can escape.

In the present day, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has just graduated from college and is living with new girlfriend Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington Whiteley) in Washington DC. Meanwhile Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, and the other Autobots are working with the US government to keep the planet free of Decepticons.

While on a mission to investigate the happenings at Chernobyl’s deserted nuclear plant, Optimus Prime discovers a fuel cell from the lost Ark. Optimus Prime demands answers from the head of National Security (Frances McDormand), who tells him about a crashed spaceship on the dark side of the moon. Optimus and a team of Autobots go to the moon where they discover that the crashed ship is the lost Ark.

Meanwhile, Sam gets a new job and Carly is working for wealthy accountant Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey). It turns out Gould is working for the Decepticons. As soon as Sam starts his new job, he finds himself involved in ‘dark side of the moon’ conspiracies and is attacked by Decepticons. Sam escapes to an army base and is reunited with his Autobot friend Bumblebee. He also gets help from an old friend, Seymour Simmons (John Turturro), in the latest fight to save the world from the Decepticons.

Themes

Robots; conspiracy theories; alien invasion; betrayal and revenge

Violence

Transformers: Dark of the Moon has long sequences of intense science fiction action, violence and destruction. Although most of the violence is between giant metal live robots, the violence is still brutal. A lot of blood and gore is shown. For example:

  • The opening scene of the movie shows an epic space battle between giant robots and spacecraft. There’s laser fire and explosions, and both robots and spacecraft are destroyed.
  • A transformer robot orders a group of robots to ‘kill them all’. A sinister bird-like robot goes into a house and approaches a young child and a mother in a scary way. In another house, the same robot approaches a man and a woman. The woman screams. Crime scene photographs flashed on the screen indicate that the transformer robots murdered many people. One image shows the legs of a dead man with blood on the ground.
  • A bird-like transformer pushes a man through a glass window. People gather at their office windows to see the man’s body on the footpath below. A man says that the dead man’s remains were all over the footpath.
  • A photocopier transforms into a robot bird and attacks Sam. It fires laser beams and chases Sam through a building.
  • When stopped at an army barrier, Sam screams loudly in anger and then drives his car towards the barrier. The barrier raises Sam’s car into the air. Sam is dragged out of the car by a soldier, and they have a scuffle.
  • In a bar scene, a woman points a shotgun at a man, who disarms the woman by hitting her in the head with the gun and breaking her arm (we hear the sound of bones snapping). Then he throws the woman over his shoulder.
  • After a head-on collision, three transformers end up with bloody and gory wounds.
  • A transformer throws a large spiked sword at a second transformer. The sword causes a bloody wound.
  • A teleportation device is activated and dozens of transformers come through a gateway. There’s chaos and destruction as they cause cars to collide with each other. People scream as they run away from the transformers. The transformers open fire on the civilians and smash into cars and trucks.
  • A car changes into a transformer, trapping Carly inside. Menacing tentacles with knife-like talons on the ends come from underneath the car and slither towards Carly’s face. Two men hold Sam prisoner. Another man threatens that the transformer will kill Carly if Sam doesn’t follow their orders.
  • While being held by two security guards, Sam spits in a man’s face. The image is very detailed and graphic.
  • A transformer with a scorpion-like appearance and pincer hooks is placed on Sam’s wrist. The transformer morphs into a wristwatch. The pincers dig into Sam’s wrist, causing him to wince in pain.
  • When transporters invade Chicago, they leave the city in ruins. When people are hit by transformer weapons, they seem to disintegrate. Their bones and skulls are left rolling on the ground. Terrified children run for their lives through the city ruins, and people are covered in ash. A subway train is thrown off its tracks. Later we see the train wreckage filled with the limp bodies of men and women.
  • Sam, Carly and several soldiers are in a high-rise building that is attacked by a gigantic transformer with multiple tentacles. It tears the building in half. Sam and the others slide out of control through a window and then down the outside of the building to drop back inside. Sam grabs Carly’s arm, preventing her from falling, but another man falls to his death.
  • Optimus Prime fires missiles at a large worm-like transporter. Blood-like fire spews from its mouth as it dies.
  • Sam fires a grappling hook into the eye of a transformer and is lifted into the air and whipped around. He stabs the transformer in the eye, and it explodes.
  • Sam and a second man have a brutal fight. Sam punches the man in the face while the man stomps on Sam’s chest and then tries to push Sam off a high-rise building. Sam pushes the man into an electrified pillar, which electrocutes the man. The man’s body convulses and falls to the ground.
  • A transformer begs for his life, but is dragged off and shot in the back of the head. His head rolls along the ground. A second transformer is dragged off to be executed. Sam cries.
  • Optimus Prime uses a huge power sword to slice and chop his way through other transformers.
  • During an extended fight, Optimus uses his sword to rip the head and spine from Megatron, while Sentinel Prime cuts off Optimus Prime’s arm. At the end of the fight, Optimus Prime shoots Sentinel Prime in the head. Sentinel Prime lies on the ground with part of his head blown away.

Content that might disturb children

Under 8

Parents of younger children are strongly cautioned that, in addition to the violence described above, Transformers: Dark of the Moon contains many images and scenes that might disturb young children. For example:

  • There are many scary, evil transformers, including one like a vulture with a mouth full of sharp teeth. Other transformers include a worm with many tentacles and mouths full of razor-sharp teeth, Megatron who has had half of his head blown away, and a scorpion that turns into a watch and tortures its victims into submission.
  • Terrified children run through apocalyptic war zone.
  • Gigantic flying craft have a creepy insect-like appearance.
  • Many scenes contain graphic images of blood and gore.

From 8-13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Sexual references

This movie has some sexual references. For example:

  • A photograph shows Carly in tight jeans standing next to a man. Sam says something about Carly’s jeans being too tight.
  • Characters talk about a man being asked to frisk Carly and refusing.
  • Sam’s mother talks about Sam’s girlfriend being a ‘world-class hottie’.
  • A man says that a sports car is modelled on a woman’s appearance.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows characters drinking alcohol of various types in bars and at parties. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Carly wears one of Sam’s shirts and bikini underwear. She climbs on top of Sam and straddles him while he’s lying in bed.
  • Sam pins Carly against a wall and she wraps her legs around him. They kiss.
  • In several scenes, women wear low-cut tops. Throughout the movie, Carly wears very tight dresses.
  • A man shoves Sam into a toilet cubicle and straddles him while Sam is sitting on the toilet seat. The man straddling Sam then gets up and pulls down his pants, reaches towards his crotch (not shown) and pulls out a wad of papers. Sam then pushes his attacker. Both men stumble out of the cubicle to find another man standing there looking at them.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • The Transformer movies are based on Hasbro toys that are marketed to young children.
  • General Motors, Mercedes and Corvette cars – their prices are mentioned.
  • Apple computers and iPods.
  • Nike and Adidas.

Coarse language

The movie contains coarse language, name-calling and put-downs.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the third in the Transformers series of movies. It’s a science fiction action adventure, targeting an adolescent male audience.

You should note that this movie seems to have more violence, brutality, blood and gore than previous movies. At 149 minutes, it’s also very long. Although Transformers toys are specifically marketed for very young children, this movie is not suitable for children and contains images that might scare and upset younger children.

The main messages from this movie are the following:

  • Everyone has a right to freedom.
  • You should make a stand for what you believe in.
  • The needs of the many shouldn’t outweigh the needs of the few.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include selflessness, courage and bravery.

You might also want to talk about how female characters are portrayed in this movie, including the amount of time they get in the storyline and the stereotypical way in which they’re shown.

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